By John Dinsley

Compiled from the book CharcoalRemedies.com: The Complete Handbook of Medicinal Charcoal & Its Applications

"It is only when ignited and quenched that charcoal itself acquires its characteristic powers, and only when it seems to have perished that it becomes endowed with greater virtue." -- Pliny, 50 A.D.

"Ignited...quenched...perished...endowed." As Pliny, the great Roman scientist observed long ago, charcoal is an enigma, a seeming contradiction, a riddle, a puzzle. Yet, in our day, charcoal has become one of the greatest, super natural benefactors to the human family that science, technology and medicine have ever witnessed.

Charcoal cleans the water for fish aquariums, Olympic pools, municipalities, the international space station and bottled water. Charcoal purifies the air in our homes, cars, places of work, as well as in nuclear submarines that roam the deepest oceans. Charcoal neutralizes the leachate from city dumps, the toxic chemicals from industrial smoke stacks and deadly gases in chemical warfare. Charcoal turns sugar white and licorice black. Charcoal detoxifies herbicides and pesticides from golf courses and farmers' fields and acts as a soil conditioner for gardens and lawns. Building materials compounded with charcoal insulate while they adsorb many of the volatile toxic compounds blamed for the "sick house syndrome."

Medicinally, activated charcoal is used in hospitals, research centers, emergency rooms, poison control centers and animal clinics worldwide. Because charcoal "ad-sorbs" thousands of natural and man-made poisons, it is administered universally for poisoning and drug overdose. As well, charcoal benefits such diverse conditions as indigestion, diarrhea, infection, pain, infant colic, the anemia associated with cancer, hepatitis, ulcerative colitis, poisonous bites and poison ivy. Activated charcoal is used in breast cancer surgery, wound dressings and is the blood-revitalizing agent in kidney and liver dialysis units. Who would have guessed? Charcoal is armed with a science that technology and medicine can dream about but never equal.

While the health benefits of simple charcoal (right from your wood stove or campfire) have been recorded as far back as ancient Egyptian times (for treating wound odors, chlorosis, epilepsy, anthrax, vertigo, etc.), its varied applications have increased dramatically in the last 100 years. Today it is generally sold as "activated" charcoal. "Activation" increases the microscopic surface area of the charcoal particles, and it is the tremendous surface area of charcoal that accounts for its phenomenal ability to adsorb thousands of different toxins, and hold them until they are safely disposed of.

Commercially activated charcoal is sold as tablets, capsules, suspensions and as powder. Charcoal powder is much more adsorptive, and it works more quickly than capsules and tablets, which take more time to dissolve. Tablets are about half as effective as powder charcoal. When you are concerned about ingested poisons, time is of the essence, so mixing charcoal powder in a glass of water and drinking that down is definitely the best remedy. In fact, this is the very remedy that would be given if you or your child were to be taken to an emergency room for accidental poisoning, drug overdose or attempted suicide. But, imagine how much better it would be if you were to have some activated charcoal in your home, emergency kit or camping gear and could administer it before you set off for the ER. In fact, most Poison Control Centers are now recommending you throw away your bottles of Ipecac and stock your medicine cabinet with activated charcoal -- just in case. It is like a fire extinguisher: you hope you never have to use one, but if you do, how much better to have it within easy access.

You can buy activated charcoal in most health food stores or pharmacies. If they do not have it in stock, then ask them to stock it -- it's time they all did. For that matter, encourage the vet shops and co-ops to carry it for your pets or livestock when they accidentally ingest poisons.

Aside from drug overdoses and poisons, people are discovering what Europeans discovered when they first came to the Americas -- Native Americans eating charcoal for indigestion and gas! Yes, activated charcoal is used today by thousands of people who have rediscovered that it works wonderfully to neutralize excess stomach acid, relieve indigestion and control stomach gas. For those who eat some food, whether at home, at a restaurant or in some far off country, that makes them sick, there is no better overall remedy than activated charcoal. For nausea, vomiting, cramping or even severe diarrhea, charcoal goes right to work to adsorb the toxins that are triggering your symptoms of food poisoning. Activated charcoal is known to both adsorb E coli and the toxins they produce. The same is true for tetanus toxin, diphtheria, cholera and typhoid. People with severe diarrhea from Crohn's, ulcerative colitis or IBD are known to experience relief by mixing charcoal powder into water, letting the charcoal settle out, pouring off the gray water into a separate container, and drinking that through the day in place of other fluids.

Charcoal powder should never be swallowed dry! Mix it into water or some other beverage. For children, you can camouflage it in grape juice, an opaque container with a straw, but if they see Mommy and Daddy using charcoal in water for their upset tummies, it won't be hard to coax them to try it that way, too. The funny black lips and tongue can also help diffuse some anxiety. Simply rinse the mouth out with another drink of water and swallow that down, too.

Oh yes, burnt toast is not charcoal. It is superheated carbohydrates, proteins and fats, some of which are known to be carcinogenic. Don't use the charcoal from charcoal briquettes internally or externally. They are impregnated with poisonous fossil fuels to help them ignite.

Charcoal can also be applied externally for inflammation, infection, poisonous bites, stings and poison ivy. Simply make a charcoal poultice and apply it over the affected area. For directions how to make a charcoal poultice, go to www.buyactivatedcharcoal.com/poultice. Activated charcoal goes right to work drawing out the poisons that cause inflammation, pain and infection.

How about your pets and livestock? The Animal Poison Control Center recommends activated charcoal for poisoning (1-3 grams of charcoal to 2 pounds body weight). Charcoal can be added to water or food, or you can use one of the commercial charcoal applications for animals. Again, charcoal applied externally works wonders for infections and promotes healing.

While it is not a cure-all, how is it that charcoal so positively impacts our personal health? Is it mere chance that charcoal is so universal, so available, so affordable and so safe and easy to use? Charcoal is no accident! It is so perfectly suited to every class of people, every geography and every climate. One can only conclude that charcoal has been handcrafted with us in mind. It is mysteriously simple, but within its simplicity there is an object lesson, a spiritual truth that invites us to experience total health.

Charcoal makes raw sugar cleaner and sweeter. It removes impurities from vegetable oils and leaves them tastier and smooth like silk. Charcoal makes water more purer and more refreshing. Charcoal takes polluted air and returns it healthier and invigorating. God's divine "charcoal" works the same benefits.

Graphite, charcoal and diamonds share the same carbon building blocks, but they are structurally and aesthetically different. In its simplest form, carbon congregates in planes and sheds easily, as in soft gray graphite. But that same carbon, exposed to intense heat, changes into crusty but intricate, geodesic-like fragments. Again, when it is exposed to extreme heat and extreme pressure, the uninspiring black carbon is, by the miracle of God, reborn into a dazzling crystal clear diamond. Like the humble carbon, we too have a royal pedigree.

From the cradle to the grave, from the little "owie" to the crushing load of guilt and remorse, God has provided an antidote for every poison, a healing balm for every wound. The mystery of charcoal's benign power to heal is but a faint shadow of God's powerhouse of redeeming love. So, when you feel all your goodness spent, your spirit baked with unquenchable fire, broken and crunched, pressed out beyond measure, remember, God has a ministry just for you. Ignited...quenched...perished...and endowed!

John Dinsley, a native of British Columbia, Canada, has lived, traveled and worked from South America to the North Pole, from Nova Scotia to Nepal. He is trained as a Lifestyle Counselor, teaches public health programs, vegetarian cooking schools, home remedies workshops, and he has operated a family care home and an organic market garden business. He is the author of CharcoalRemedies.com: The Complete Handbook of Medicinal Charcoal & Its Applications (2006 Independent Publisher Book Awards Honorable Mention for Outstanding Book of the Year as the "Most Progressive Health Book.") He and his wife Kimberly own the internet business BuyActivatedCharcoal.com. Contact him at toll-free 1 (888) 264-5568 or e-mail info@buyactivatedcharcoal.com

Copyright 2007 John Dinsley. All rights reserved.